Contention Over Traffic Safety and Spending Dominate Ridgewood Council Meeting

The Ridgewood Village Council session was largely dominated by spirited debates over local concerns, notably the closure of a footbridge that has led to accidents involving children. Resident Susan Ruan voiced her frustration with the council’s lack of action and implored them to allocate funds for footbridge repairs.

Ruan stated, “I alerted The Village members, the council members of the accident long before the budget was finalized…yet the Village Council still didn’t allocate any funds to repairing the Footbridge.” In addition to safety concerns, Ruan also inquired whether Ridgewood had applied for grant funds recommended by Congressman Josh Guggenheim’s office. In response, a council member admitted they were not familiar with the grant but committed to looking into it.

However, no specific plan or timeline was provided to address the footbridge issue by the end of the meeting. This, combined with the council’s assurance to review the outstanding concerns, suggests the footbridge remains a point of contention within the community.

Also contentious was the appointment of a new village manager, Keith Kasma. While most of the council was in favor of Kasma’s appointment, Council member Reynolds objected. Reynolds raised concerns about the financial implications, pointing out that the Village Clerk, Heather, has been effectively handling many of the duties of a manager. Despite Reynolds’ dissent, the council ultimately voted to move forward with Kasma’s appointment.

The meeting also celebrated Ridgewood’s environmental leadership, notably the village’s certification as the first “Bee City USA” in the Northeast, demonstrating the commitment to promoting pollinator habitats and sustainable practices. However, not all environmental issues were agreed upon unanimously. A proposal to purchase a gasoline-powered vehicle for the Parks Department ignited contention, with resident Boyd A. Loving advocating for an electric alternative. The council decided to delay the purchase.

The session also highlighted the contributions of community volunteers, especially Tess Giuliani and Lynn Brady, who designed a monument to honor Gold Star families. The council endorsed the monument and recognized the efforts of the Pedestrian Plaza organizers and local youth sports teams.

Finally, the council also recognized retiring Police Chief Jackie Luffy for her 27 years of service. The council declared June 14, 2023, as Jacqueline Lefke Day and presented her with a “key to the city” pin, symbolic of her high regard in the community.

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